Medicine isn't an exact science, the human body is much too complicated for that.
Doctors train for years to learn how to take a list of symptoms and try to figure out what ails someone, but they are limited by their own experiences.
Unfortunately, this means mistakes are sometimes made, and those mistakes can greatly impact a patient's life.
Reddit user u/big-juicy724 asked:
Bit of a weird one, because the request for a second opinion came from an intensivist and I was a contributor to their treatment plan.
I work in poisons control. Had a call from a green, but very astute young doctor with a middle-aged female patient presenting with a vague 36-48hr history of malaise, confusion, hypoxia from hyperventilation, and hallucinations. On workup was noted to have pulmonary edema (lung fluid buildup), metabolic acidosis, acute kidney injury, sinus tachy and raised CRP & WCC, suggestive of infection but no temperature. The initial diagnosis was sepsis.
This keen-eyed doctor, pretty fresh out of med school, decided to do a salicylate level on this lady because the hyperventilation paired with metabolic acidosis and AKI was enough to prompt her suspicions of aspirin poisoning, even though they could just as easily be explained by sepsis as well.
The level came back high. Not huge, but high, which prompted her to phone me for a second opinion on how relevant the finding was in terms of the patient's clinical picture. Simultaneously, the patient's family investigated the property and located numerous aspirin blister packs suggesting she had been dosing herself for chronic pain, which was present in the medical history.
Chronic salicylate poisoning is insidious and has been referred to as a "pseudosepsis" in the medical literature as it often causes similar features.
Comparing a high level in chronic poisoning to the same level in acute poisoning, features are much more severe in chronic poisoning (i.e. pulmonary edema, hypoxia, AKI etc) - there is a disparity. We recommended certain treatments (all hail sodium bicarbonate) and the patient made a full recovery after a 2 week hospital stay.
Whilst there was no question an infective cause was present and contributory, I was impressed with the green doctor's intuition and willingness to consider other causes - I feel like it greatly improved the patient's treatment.
Here's a cautionary tale why urgent cares should NEVER treat eye issues.
Lady was referred to me after 2 weeks of treated for a red painful eye. The PA and MDs that saw her tried allergy meds and anti biotic is thinking it was allergic or bacterial conjunctivitis, or hoping it was mild viral that would resolve on its own.
So I took one look at her and knew it was a herpes simplex infection in her cornea. She was in pain and had been mistreated for 2 weeks. Got her on anti virals, but after discussing how it was odd she didn't have any active herpetic sores, but had a really bad cough that the ER said was just pneumonia and would go away with antibiotics.
I told her to get it checked with a pulmonologist because it didn't sound like pneumonia and it wasn't getting better. I saw her 3 months later to monitor her corneal appearance and she came in using a wheelchair.
Turns out the pulmonologist was blown away that the ER had dismissed her. She had a really rare small cell lung cancer. The reason the herpes infection manifested in the first place was her immune system was compromised. She told me the pulmonologist said I'd saved her life because they caught it early. It's been a bit over a year. She's still undergoing treatment but her spirits are strong and she's optimistic as is the pulmonologist.
Eye Doctor here. I had a patient I saw several months before they came in for their visit but well less than a year, which often means something could be wrong. In this case, as it turns out, nothing was wrong with her by way of complaints, she just wanted to get updated before getting some new glasses. We decided to just run the regular gamut of tests anyway just because we might as well while she was there. She was a 50YO woman, fairly normal exam, perfect vision, retinas showed healthy, but something about her pupils really bothered me before I dilated. We chatted about it and I asked her if she banged her head or anything weird and she said no, but suddenly reveals this crazy history of an old Meningioma (a type of tumorous brain growth) she had removed a few years ago. She had decided to omit this from her history with us as she didn't feel it was important, but we went and put it into the charts anyway. Turns out she got a CT done two weeks prior to her exam with me which she says turns up completely normal. I tell her she should tell her doctor about this anyway just to cover our bases.
Fast Forward: Patient shows up in my office ecstatic to tell me that my examination revealed that her tumor had returned with an incredible vengeance. She had no idea, was totally asymptomatic and the CT she had prior to me showed what was very literally the size of a spec of dust which the radiologist dismissed as "artifact". On her return to her doctor, they decided to re-run the CT to cover THEIR Bases, and they found a QUARTER SIZED TUMOR. Within Two Weeks the tumor went from the size of a dust particle to a QUARTER. She was rushed into emergency surgery as the tumor was growing SUPER fast and was close to a blood vessel which could cause a massive stroke. She had it removed that day and returned to me after recovery to tell me of what got discovered as a result of my testing. She is now a long time regular patient I have been seeing for about 10 years.
For those asking about the pupils, they were asymmetric, and the larger one reacted less robustly compared to the fellow eye. This was a marked change from her previous examinations where no pupillary defects were noted.
22 yo guy came in after seeing his primary at another hospital. His mom was my patient and asked if I would see him (I am an Internal Med doc). He had told his doctor he had a headache. I did a usual full review of symptoms since he was new and he also marked his left testicle had a lump. Did exam and he had hard small lump on testicle. Knew right away likely had metastatic testicular cancer. 1 stat brain scan and Testicular ultrasound later confirmed it.
Asked him if told other doctor about the lump and he said yes but the other doctor told him it was normal.
He lived, by the way, but it was close a few times. So fellows if you note a lump on your testicle ask for an ultrasound and don't be embarrassed to bring it up.
For those of you who are concerned after examining yourself:There is a small soft area posteriorly that should be similar on both your testicles known as the epididymis.That is normal. A hard lump on only one side only is not. Monthly self checks between ages 15-34 can be done but since rare (5/100,000) not a general recommendation.
Mid 30's man walks into my office with what looks like a black eye and a broken blood vessel in the front of his left eye. He went to his primary and it was simply assumed that he got punched or hit or something, and he was dismissed. He was noted to have high blood pressure, but a script for medicine was written and a follow up in a few months. Gentleman comes in to see me to get another opinion on the matter and I look at him and immediately start the line of questions: How long has it been there, do you have a headache, and when you plug your ears with your fingers do you hear a "wooshing" sound? He had a cavernous sinus fistula (CCF).
I sent him directly to the emergency room with his family of 4 in tow and he was in the OR within an hour of arriving. Saved his eye and possibly his life that day.
The best news: He was a kitchen guy at my local diner which I frequent and they still treat me like royalty there when I come to eat. They all remember the time I saved one of theirs.
Psychiatrist here. A 30 year old man with mild depressive symptoms was in-and-out of the hospital fairly quickly. He was under pressure from his home life, living with 4 roommates who were making life a bit difficult for him. No suicidal thoughts. He was cleared of all psychopathologies by me and two other doctors. A few months later he came back. Same symptoms, however this time he talked about 5 roommates. It felt wrong, and I digged in his story. Tried to contact his roommates. He lived alone and was severely psychotic. I have no idea to this day how he hid it so well from everyone.
EDIT: a few more details: The patient talked, dressed and acted normally however after admitting him for a longer period we noticed he talked with his "roommates" often. He was single, no contact with his family and somehow working, however in a routine job with little to no personal contact. After a few talks he also claimed other peoples thoughts were sometimes "thrown at him and sitting on his head", and he could thus read people's minds against his will. The interesting thing about this patient was, that his internal world somehow fitted the external world when asked - his roommates sounded perfectly plausible (they were not e.g. shadow-people, vikings, 12 m tall) and they teased him by hiding his stuff.
But he ate with them, watched TV with them, so on. Normally a person with paranoid schizophrenia (paranoid meaning all types of delusions) will have multiple symptoms sometimes easy to see for the untrained eye. The patients can dress, talk and present themselves in odd ways, usually different from cultural norms.
They can have incoherent speech, make up words and phrases or are clearly separated from reality (another patient of mine insisted that I was in jail for medicating him, even when we talked). When we quickly "scan" a patient for psychotic symptoms we basically look for inconsistencies in the patients experience of the world - the patients normally know "something is wrong" or "weird" or "different", but often belive it is the world around them, that have changed.
This is due to discrepancy between what they experience (input), failed assessment of the inputs (due to the thinking disorder) and testing hypothesis based on failed assessments which collide with the real world. This will activate defense mechanisms fx denial, wild explanations, accepting both "realities" at the same time, and so on. (e.g "I am not sick, my doctor must be a bad guy, bad guys are in jail, my doctor are in jail, but my doctor is sitting right in front of me at the same time, he must have an identical twin or this is an alternate reality). This is usually the way delusions are made.
To summarize: when we scan for psychosis, we look for inconsistencies between the patients subjective experience of thinking, being and acting and the objective reality accepted by the generel cultural norm. This patient managed to live in a subjective psychotic world that just fitted so well with the objective reality that he slipped by several psychiatrists including myself.
My grandmother had her hip replaced, but the hip always hurt to her. She waited a year, hoping it would go away but it never did, she asked multiple doctors and did multiple x-rays but doctors said the replaced hip was fine. We finally made her go to a private clinic in my hometown, and the doctor saw that the replaced hip was fine and dandy, but the bone around it looked like it was a tad bit eaten by bacteria.
So the new doc did an operation, and there was so much pus in the leg it was insane. If my grandmother waited any longer, her blood would become infected and she would have died.
Thank goodness she went to the clinic.
This is a 'I wish I had gotten a second opinion' story. I had a doctor in high school who was unconcerned when I suddenly developed vertical double vision (which was freaking out everyone in emergency, where I had gone initially) and lost 60lbs for no reason.
It was only a year or two later when I told him that my arm would fall asleep much faster than normal when I raised it to ask a question in class that he thought there might be something wrong with me.
MRI ordered. Brain tumour found.
At a clinic a lady came in for breast pain with a lump. I was in the room for the exam for safety of everyone. The doctor told her it was a sprained muscle and to go away. When he left the room I told her the name of one of our other doctors that specializes in women's health. Told her she could not let this go. She saw him and he referred her for some radiology and that's how they found her breast cancer. She later told us all this in a sweet card she sent telling us if I hadn't told her to advocate for herself she may not have followed up.
Dermatologist here. I have seen probably 5 instances of "My other doctor told me it was fine." that were melanomas. W
A lot of times people don't want a full skin exams. There are lots of perfectly sane reasons for this, time, perceived cost, history of personal trauma. However, I routinely find cancers people don't know they have. Keep this in mind if you see a dermatologist for acne and they recommend you get in a gown.
People Explain Which Strange Things Are Considered Normal In Their Home Country But Weird Everywhere Else
What is in the water in the United States that compels people to walk around in their homes with their shoes on? Try doing that in South Korea––people would be so mortified. I have a sibling whose apartment is carpeted from wall to wall and who walks around inside with his shoes on all the time, tracking in any manner of dirt and dust from outside. Egad! I get chills just thinking about it. And as an American, it's something I've noticed people from other countries love to comment on.
We learned a lot more about things that are considered normal in other countries after Redditor monitonik asked the online community,
"What's normal in your country that's considered weird in others?"
"I grew up in Australia..."
"I grew up in Australia and migrated to Ireland about ten years ago. First thing I noticed was people in Ireland really like to talk about death in everyday conversation: Who died. When the mass is. The removal of the body and the anniversaries of their death. It's so normal in conversation."
"Leaving a baby..."
"Leaving a baby bundled up outside to sleep. When my previous neighbours had a baby, sometimes I would pass it on the porch, just sleeping. Including in winter as long as it wasn't too cold."
And in the United States, rest assured that child services would be called ASAP.
"In Japan, there are public toilets in a few places where after urinating, you can opt to view a general health assessment report."
Sounds like a privacy issue, no?
"I live in Malaysia..."
"I live in Malaysia and nearly everyone here uses at least three languages in a sentence."
Spend some time in Miami. The official language of the city is Spanglish.
"There's this sport..."
"There's this sport in Finland called eukonkanto, where men participate in running a specific distance, all while carrying their wife or girlfriend. Winner gets their woman's weight in beer."
"It's a small country..."
"Probably talking to people so that no one else can hear you except the person you are directly talking to.
It's a skill almost all Dutch people have, I have found, but it can be very unnerving for other people because you can be sitting pretty close to two people having a conversation and have no idea what they are saying.
It's a small country and very densely populated with people who value their privacy. It's a survival skill, really."
Can we bring this to the United States? Why are people so LOUD here?
"Some areas in the country..."
"Saying "hi" or waving to strangers. Some areas in the country take it even further and you're considered rude if you drive through a residential street and don't wave to anyone walking as you pass them."
"If you're walking with a dog..."
"Walking all over the countryside along ancient footpaths (as well as bridleways and byways, and a lot of disused railway tracks that have been designated as footpaths). These paths often go across privately owned land; the landowners are required by law to keep the paths clear, and if they put up a fence to provide a gate.
If you're walking with a dog, you're expected to keep it under control around livestock and when the path crosses a road, but otherwise it's just accepted that dogs are going to run around sniffing everything."
"We have robots..."
"We have robots at busy intersections and crossing points to assist and control traffic flow."
Nice to see Chappie is getting some work.
"The other day..."
"I teach in Japan but grew up in America. The other day my students asked me wide-eyed if Americans really wear their shoes inside. I told them yes and that sometimes my dad would cross his legs like this while we sat on the sofa and I could touch the bottom of his shoes. They were super grossed out. "Eew, why would you wear shoes inside! That's so dirty!" These kids are 2nd graders so it starts pretty young."
It never hurts to travel––you'll broaden your horizons and learn more about other cultures! When the pandemic's over––I mean actually over––and it's safe enough to travel, I might just hire someone to play my wife and take part in that Finnish wife-carrying contest. Some beer sounds great.
Have some observations of your own? Feel free to tell us all about them in the comments section below!
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
The brain a fascinating part of the body. No, its the most fascinating.
Scientists have said for years that we'll never know all about the brain and its functions.
So if it is so fascinating and so capable and awesome... why does it stall? Why does it overload?
Why aren't we all gifted with photographic memory? The brain definitely has a full storage issue. And we all suffer.
Redditor u/MABAMA45 wanted everyone to fess up to and just embrace all the things the brain can't handle by asking:
What can your brain just not comprehend?
I'm a smart person. I read, I study, I comprehend. But certain types of math can send me to the funny farm. I tried trigonometry in high school. I needed a therapist after a week. My brain hates math. It is what it is. I give up trying.
Louder!Meme Reaction GIF by reactionseditorGiphy
"I can't comprehend why any company would think I'm more likely to buy their product if they make their commercial 20db louder than all other commercials. Instant boycott."
"The sheer size and scale of the universe. Like the fact that you can fit all the planets of the Solar System between the Earth and the Moon. Now realise how far apart all the planets are in the Solar System. This is practically next door compared to the distance between our Sun and the nearest star."
"There are billions of stars in our Milky Way (with the majority having planets of their own). The sheer scale of the vast emptiness involved means that even when our galaxy merges with the Andromeda galaxy in 4.5 billion years' time, there will be very, very few actual collisions between stars."
"Then there is the void between galaxies, and that it takes billions of years for light, at its speed (massless, and the fastest speed possible), to travel between galaxies, speaks of the sheer emptiness and distance in that void. I can't quite fathom it."
"What was there before the universe, what was there before that, and that and that and (you get the idea)."
"Before" implies that time exists on both sides of an event, but that is not true when we are talking about the universe. Like how there are no positive numbers less than 0, there are no times before the beginning of the universe."
In the Words...
"Language, the fact that we all collectively decided separately and divertingly that certain sounds have meanings and that other sound mixed with those can change the meaning."
"Thanks for all of the upvotes and the award :3."
"Adding onto what I said, sounds are just vibrations in the air that out brains interpret into the sensation of hearing. Really we're vibrating the air at each-other and those air vibrations to your brain contain meaning. When you think about it like this language is not too dissimilar to the internet in a way. Makes you realize how crazy and unique of a skill language really is, with-ought it we wouldn't have a civilization."
"Another interesting thing related to this is when people call your name. Even if your in a crowded area with hundreds of people talking around you and you think your tuning them out if you hear your name you immediately notice, Some part of your brain must be constantly listening."
"Here are some other things my mind can't quite grasp:
- Computers, the fact that my phone is performing countless mathematical operations constantly.
- the plank length, if I understand it right it's the smallest distance anything can move, like a pixel of space.
- the human body and animals in general, were a collection of (large number but idk how large) cells all working together in various systems some how sustaining a brain that is able to be conscious, it's a miracle animals work at all let alone what they're capable of.
- why my ankles crack when I walk.
- what the future will be like, the world is changing so fast it's likely the future will be nothing like we think and it's coming." - Flaer15
I'm EmptyFun Floating GIF by Tomas BrunsdonGiphy
"My little brain can't comprehend the vast emptiness of space and the fact it supposedly just stretches on forever and never has an end. Kind of wild when you try imagine it."
Like any other muscle or organ in the body, we have to listen when pain is inflicted. We have to recognize discomfort and deal. Why don't we allow the same respect to our brain? It will tell us when enough is enough.
Simplicity...Work Working GIFGiphy
"How a simple calculator works. I can do math. I'm actually very good at it. How does a little plastic box do it though? Always boggled my mind."
"Dates. I am considered a historian by my family due to my knowledge on most world history, but God dang dates... I could be talking about WWII and say it happened the same date as WWI."
Billions of People
"That all the others persons I talk to or see, have their own thoughts, own inner dialogue and own life. For gaming analogy sometimes I just feel like others are NPC and I just can't comprehend that there are more than 7 billions person just like me."
The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one's own, which they are constantly living despite one's personal lack of awareness of it."
Now That's Too Much!
"I have a PhD in astronomy and MSc in Physics, and had to take ~2 years worth of quantum mechanics courses. It's one of those things where you can take solace that even with all that education on it all I can say is no one else really understands it either."
And the Dark?
"Light isn't affected by time. So... other things could just exist outside of time? Like, if you were a photon that traveled at light speed for a million years and then hit an alien's third butt, you'd experience it as instantly being a million light years away."
"A photon moves at the speed of light through space, but is standing still in time."
"A person at rest moves at the speed of light through time, but is standing still in space. When you accelerate through space, you're simultaneously decelerating through time. That's why observers will see your clock slow down when you begin accelerating at relativistic speeds. It's referred to as time and space dilation. Makes more sense once you realize that."
"There are people who don't have an internal dialogue with themselves. So, they never question if they are right or wrong. They never wonder if they are treating someone fairly, or if they are nice or mean."
"They can change their minds with no information, but it doesn't involve the process most of us go through when confronted with an opinion, or new data. It's not common, but it's not entirely rare. When I learned about this, I just couldn't understand how it was even possible."
The EndSeason 2 Episode 10 GIF by The SimpsonsGiphy
"Death, obviously I understand why people die and all that but just thinking what happens afterwards. What's it like for the said person that died, is it just blackness? Is it like they're dreaming??? Reincarnation?? This probably sounds very stupid but I don't care 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️"
There is so much to learn, and even more that we'll never know. And that's ok. When the brain is full, it's full. Seems like just a part of life. The mysteries will sometimes stay illusive.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
It's okay to hate things.
Some things deserve to be hated. Internet trolls, people who mistreat animals, and individuals who talk during the movie are most definitely worthy of the scorn they gain. However, there are some items and topics which could do with a bit of rebranding. Instead of being "Hate Me," they instead deserve a sign that says, "I'm Really Not That Bad."
What doesnt need the hate it gets?
They say you hate what you don't understand. Clearly, they were thinking of things like the entries below when they came up with that expression as all of these fit the bill of being hated for not being understood.
It Cycles Past Judgement Into Comfort
"Sleeping with stuffed animals. You're never too old for that."
"Somewhat mature: Not needing a stuffed animal in order to sleep.
Very mature: Sleeping with one anyway because you don't give a f-ck what other people think."
Long Live The King
Most unfairly villainized and maligned animal in the world all because of some stupid Disney movie. They are not scavengers at all they hunt 90% of their prey and lions steal food off of them far more than they steal off lions. They are highly intelligent predators with an equally important role to play in the ecosystem."
They Go Through More Than Anyone Will Realize
I can personally confirm that I was a piece of work in grade school--then high school. And it wasn't because of teachers--it was because of me."
"As someone in high school rn, I agree with this. They get paid too little to deal with my laziness and bullsh-t"
You might have been told, either by a friend or a family member or some misguided news source, that the following topics are deserving of your hate. That their mere existence is something to shun and hate.
That's not the case.
It Tastes Soooo Good
"MSG. It's like salt but on crack and exploding with flavor."
This was a pretty racist phenomenon that got built up around Asian restaurants in the 70s and 80s.
"Essentially some study came out that MSG was bad for you and caused headaches, racing heart and basically anything else that might be considered bad. They even came up with a diagnosis for it "Chinese Restaurant Syndrome" and it was recognized as a legit medical diagnosis.
However, the FDA had already tested it and on retest found that it was still basically as safe as anything else you put in your food. .
The original studies were really flawed in that they weren't blind and there was already this perception that MSG was bad because they were racists/xenophobic."
You Know Bananas Don't Normally Look Like That, Right?
"GMOs. Humans have been slowly doing that since we started cultivating crops, now we can just do it quicker. And there are millions of people who rely on GMO crops to not starve to death."
It's important to be cautious about your own safety and well-being. No one is trying to convince you to take unnecessary risks.
However, sometimes that thing you were worried about might not be as deadly as you imagined.
They're Not All Chernobyl
"People freak out because of the radiation but almost everyone is oblivious to the amount of crap a coal or oil powerplant dumps in the atmosphere."
"Nuclear waste is relatively easy to store and modern nuceal powerplants have good safety records."
They're Just Words
Chemist here. The word "chemicals"
Toxicologist here. "Chemical free" ugggggg makes me so mad. Anything can be toxic at the right dose
Seriously. Don't Be That Parent.
"TV shows made specifically for toddlers. They are toddlers. It's all colors and shapes and being excited over simple things. That's what toddlers are about. YOU don't need to watch the show. It's not for you."
Do certain things and people deserved to be scorned? A look at Twitter will say a resounding, "Yes." But with a keener eye, and a closer look, you'll see that misinformation or misunderstanding can guide misguided to hate.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Going to college is an exciting experience. You meet new people, learn about the world and the inner workings of society, and make lasting friendships. As fun (and expensive *cough, cough*) as higher education can be there is a reason that only one-third of the US population 25 and older have been able to complete a four-year degree program. It is hard and burnout is real.
Going through university was filled with both happiness and sometimes tears for me. I loved school and found my classes interesting, dove into extracurriculars, and had that perfectionist drive to get all A's... totally not sustainable. It hit me I was totally burnt out about two years in while enrolled in an algebra class.
I wanted to give up, I was flustered and spent way too much time trying to get a great grade in a class that just wasn't clicking for me. What did I do? I had to take a step back and reflect on what I would tell a friend in the same shoes. I would tell them they don't need to be perfect, that getting a C+ in one class wasn't going to wreck their whole GPA, and for the love of God drink water too won't just coffee.
Self-care and stealing extra sleep, even just an hour nap, can go a long way to refreshing your drive. The takeaway really was just to show me the same love and support I'd been putting out to those around me. You deserve it, too!
Redditor peachyjams asked:
"What are some tips for a burnt out student?"
The Reddit community gave this user some wonderful tips and tricks to help with student burnout.
Go at your own pace.
“Don't pressure yourself into 4 years. It's OK to take it slower. Balance out your schedule with more enjoyable elective credits if you can, or just take less courses in a semester if possible.”
“Obviously things like financial aid, living costs (if not living at home) and others may play a factor in how many courses you need to take or how quickly you need to complete college, so if you can't take less courses, talk to your advisor or counselor and work with them to carefully plan out each semester so that your coursework is balanced IE: You don't end up accidentally taking Calculus + "Fun," art class that was 1000x more work than you thought it would be in the same semester.”~zachtheperson
“Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it.”
“I feel very qualified to answer this. I have been in college continuously since I was 18, and I'm now 32. I have 2 years to go before finishing my doctorate. I currently have an associate's, bachelor's, and master's. I have also worked the entire time. Burnt out doesn't begin to cover it. Here is how I stay sane:
- Give school as little bandwidth in your life as possible. "Good enough" are the two most beautiful words in the English language. Get Bs on things. Write your assignments and due dates on a master calendar, block off times to get them done, and try to avoid thoughts of school outside of those blocks.
- To increase productivity during your work blocks, use Freedom or something similar. I paid for a lifetime subscription and in one class alone it paid for itself. It just blocks access to your distractions on the phone and computer while you get stuff done.
- Tackle other hobbies in life that you see progress in outside of school. Even if it feels like school will never ever end and you're on a treadmill of misery going nowhere, you can go somewhere in other areas of your life. I'm currently training for a marathon, just started learning cello, I mentor first gen college students, and I'm in a book club. Pick your poison, but try to put away the laptop and push yourself in a non-academic area.
- Your social needs may vary, but try getting together with other people not in your circle of school misery. Join a sports league (yuck for me but maybe not for you). I host regular dinner parties. Volunteer. Now that vaccines are out, make sure you get one then connect with other people.
- DO NOT TAKE A BREAK. When you stop school even for a semester you know what it's like to be happy and not have the weight of misery pulling you down. You won't want to go back. Slog through and just do it.
- Don't reward yourself with damaging things. Don't eat or drink your rewards for school or you will be unhealthy and unhappy when you're done. Reward yourself with something positive instead."
If I had to recommend one book, it would be 'Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle'. Basically, it goes into the science of feeling burned out, why it's bad for you, and how to fix it on a physiological level."
“If you don't want to read the whole thing, if I could distill the most useful information it would be: exercise. The author digs deep into the science (which I love) behind why it works SO DAMN GOOD, but if you hate science and reading, trust me. Go for a run a few times a week, lift weights, dance a lot, just get your heart rate up. Good luck. School sucks."~bicycle_mice
You don’t have to be perfect.walking dead love GIFGiphy
“If you're an A student I would suggest lowering your personal bar. Being constantly burnt out isn't worth the 0.2 difference in your GPA and if you're worried about career prospects there are always comparable fields that aren't quite as competitive.”
“Trying to get an A in every class takes disproportionally more work. If you can get A's and a few more B's while getting to chill every once and a while and not stressing, do that.”~SlightlyOvertuned
Lists are seriously underrated.
If your sensation is of being overwhelmed (i.e. you have an impossible amount of work to do with no end in sight) more than burnt out (you are exhausted and becoming detached from the work), then two tips:
- Realise that it's not infinite. If you stick it out until graduation (and I hope you do!), then many of the problems you're accumulating will be wiped clear. Perhaps your GPA/final grade won't be as good as you want, but remember that whatever you're facing now - this too shall pass. Knowning that there is an inevitable light at the end of the tunnel is useful for me.
- Make a list. If you are the under-organised type, making a list of things to do each morning on a sheet of paper dramatically reduces the stress level that those items cause you. You can implement some fancy to-do software if you prefer but tbh a daily todo is simpler and more effective...”~alexandicity
A book and a blanket? Make it so.read new york GIFGiphy
“When I was a burnt out student I took solace in a comfort zone activity. Something unrelated to my school work that I could dive into for a little while when I needed a break. For me, this was reading the Lord of the Rings.”
“What works for you depends one what's in your comfort zone, but it should be something that you can easily pick up and put down again when it is time to get back to work.”
“To this day, I still read the Lord of the Rings when I get stressed or overworked. In fact, I am reading it now, for the 48th time.”~khendron
“Lots of things you could try! Sleep. 8 hours a day, wake up spontaneously without an alarm and if you feel the need do a 30-90 minute power nap in the afternoon.”
“Meditate daily, 5-30 minutes to start in the morning or whenever you feel comfortable. Limit the consume of caffeine.”
“Plan a healthy diet you can stick to, reducing the amount of junk food first to focus later on the composition of your main meals, snacks and so on. Eat plenty of greens, fruit, nuts and drink mainly water or sugar free drinks.”
“Take cold showers. Those are a huge boost, especially in the morning. Decompress. As someone said, take the days you need to just do nothing during your week. Last but not least, workout! Start small, build the habit and stick to it!“~Tha_Sin
“...it's pretty normal in our over worked society.”
“Burnout is real. It means you have given too much of yourself to something, and you need to recover. While deadlines don't wait, professors often will. “
“You have to communicate with them if you are struggling. If they are worth their pay, they will do their best to accommodate you. It's unhealthy to continue under so much stress. Be kind to yourself.”
“Nearly everyone experiences this at some point in life, and it's pretty normal in our over worked society. Do what you can to clear your mind. Assign yourself a certain number of hours to completely shift gears away from all these responsibilities.”
“Set an alarm if you have to, but give yourself enough time to reach a stage of full body relaxation. You can try walking, meditating, sleeping, whatever your body needs. Just listen to it! There is no shame here. You must care for yourself and keep a balance. Deep breaths, often.”~VaginaWarrior
“Yes to this advice!! Let teachers know ASAP that you are struggling and often they will be able to make accommodations or offer help. Also, looking into counseling services that are offered through the school is definitely worth taking advantage of while that stuff is accessible and free.”~shannonbta
“because a b*tch needs water...”
“My bad day thing is I have to get up, eat (even if it's takeout), put on fresh bedsheets because if I'm having a bad day in bed it might as well be comfortable and smell good, have a shower (even just shoulders down) and go for even a small walk, even if it's to the shop or to get myself that takeout."
“They're not huge things to do but they're very difficult on some days. And I don't always do them all, maybe I just eat and shower, or go for a walk, or just change my bedsheets. But all of them are small tasks that feel like mountains but once I do one or two of them they're so so easy, and I benefit from them all mentally or physically or both."
“And I have a litre bottle of water and cup of tea at my side at all times because a b!tch needs water and there are few things as comforting as a good cup of tea in a warm mug to me."~thisisausername-2021
“I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad.”
- “Don't listen to your fellow classmates who boast about study 60+ hours a week, they're either exaggerating, straight-up lying, or have an incredibly inefficient study method. There will be times where you really need to be studying hard for extended amounts of time (ex. finals week), but for the vast majority of the semester it is completely unnecessary to do that in order to get a good grade.”
- “If you do find that you need excessive study in order to do okay in a course then you need to reach out to your TA(s) and professor. Most universities have free tutoring services, use them.”
- “Seriously just take more breaks and get more sleep. I didn't pull a single all-nighter in my 4 years of undergrad and now that I'm in med school I don't have any need for that either. Without real breaks and sleep your brain's ability to actually store and organize all the information you've studied goes out the window. This is harder to do if you need to work to support yourself but you need to find some semblance of healthy sleeping habits if you want to be able to make it through all 4 years.”
- “Eat real food. Don't just live off of snack foods and coffee, your brain isn't going to work properly if you don't fuel it. It's generally cheaper to buy canned and frozen fruit and veg so if you're on a budget try those aisles. Additionally, most places have some sort of charity or community pantry/soup kitchen, use it if you need to.You don't need to be completely destitute in order to reach out for help from these places, if you are struggling to make ends meet get help from your community. It is not weak, it is not shameful, it's being smart enough to accept that everyone needs help now and then.”
- “I mean it, don't pay attention to classmates and social media influencers who say they spend all their time studying. They almost definitely aren't and if they are they have an unsustainable view towards work/school that will bite them in the butt later on.”~JSD12345
Treat yourself to a mini-vacation.
“If you have any extra money (I know, easier said than done) book the cheapest AirBNB you can find within the area you can get to with the transportation you have available. Go alone or bring a friend, and have a mini-vacation, just for a night or weekend. It's very refreshing to have a change of scenery, even if it's in your same city.”~goshawkgirl
These are some great ideas to help cope with the all to real burnout. Remember to show yourself the grace you give to others because your best is all you can do.